As I was writing and thinking about bees something important occured to me – the solution to stressed and dying bee populations. Vertical farming.
As I mentioned in a previous post, vertical farming is hydroponic cultivation of organic produce in high rise buildings. It’s an idea that began as a test case in Newark, NJ. Here in Nevada it has many valuable benefits:
Mexican-Americans and others who enjoy agriculture and choose it as a career benefit by having their farms located near where they live in large metropolitan areas.
With the regular droughts and other water shortage issues in California food prices – especially organic produce – will continue to rise unless we can grow more and trim the cost of transportation. Organic farms near the Las Vegas Strip not only take the burden off of California, but they lower the cost of a larger variety of organic produce which means higher profit for Strip restaurants and cheaper organic produce for locals.
GMO crops are everywhere. From anecdotes I’ve read online they tend to spread their seeds into neighboring farms which not only irritates some farmers but is also a basis for litigation. It can also mean the end of natural strains of our food. We can protect the “DNA” of our food in a vertical farm.
In Nevada, water is the key to large-scale farming. In a vertical farm much less of the water in the system goes to waste. There is much less evaporation. Growth cycles can be scheduled to keep water usage stable throughout the year.
Variety. The Cavendish banana (which, by the way is threatened with extinction) is only one of many wonderful flavors of banana, for instance. Imagine if we could grow the many varieties available in the Philippines. Yum. We can also ensure that our current friend the Cavendish does not get a death sentence from mold. *
AND THE BEES. We are killing the bee population by trucking them all over America. In a closed system with air filtration and plenty of sunlight honey bees will have a permanent location to thrive. As more cities adopt vertical farms the wild bee populations will benefit from lessened need to truck them.
*- By the way, the Cavendish was chosen by suppliers who were concerned with shipping of the fruit. Cavendish survives much better than other varieties of banana in long transport. That’s another problem solved by having your banana crop down the street from your home!